Friday, July 03, 2020

The Guardian reports the news that Brussels is to rename a square after the Brontë sisters.
A square in Brussels will be named after the Brontë sisters, the first tribute of its kind in the Belgian capital, more than 178 years after Charlotte and Emily arrived in the city to study French.
Councillors in the north-west district of Koekelberg voted to name a square “Place des Sœurs Brontë” in French, or “Zusters Brontë plein” in Dutch, as part of a wider plan for the “feminisation” of public places. The local authority found that the vast majority of its streets and squares named after a person commemorated men.
The resolution in favour of renaming the square describes the three sisters – including Anne Brontë, who never went to Brussels – as “models of emancipation”.
“It is for us a tribute to the literary talents of the Brontë sisters and an honour for the commune of Koekelberg to commemorate the presences of two of the three sisters in our municipality,” said Ahmed Laaouej, the socialist mayor of Koekelberg.
The square is being redeveloped – it has recently been pedestrianised – and is home to the local Dutch-language cultural centre and library. The new name is expected to be made official in early 2021 as part of a street renaming programme. [...]
The sisters lived in the city centre but visited Koekelberg to see their Yorkshire friends Mary and Martha Taylor, who studied at the Château de Koekelberg school, a pricier establishment beyond the means of the Brontë sisters.
When the Brontë sisters would meet the Taylors in a park 100 metres from the site of the new square, Koekelberg was a tranquil area, with tree-lined avenues and grand houses. Now it is an urban landscape better known for the vast art-deco Sacred Heart basilica that looms over the Brussels skyline. [...]
Helen MacEwan, the founder of the Brussels Brontë Society and author of The Brontës in Brussels, said the naming of the square was great news. “It’s going to be a very important point in Koekelberg, so even though we haven’t got a street bang in the centre of Brussels, which is where they actually lived, I think we can all be absolutely delighted.”
For now, the only trace of the Brontës’ stay in Brussels is a tiny plaque on the Bozar cultural centre, built close to the school – now long-since demolished – where Charlotte and Emily Brontë once lived and worked. The plaque was erected by the Brontë Society in 1979, but until now Brussels has never recognised the English novelists on city walls or street names. (Jennifer Rankin)
Time magazine echoes the news as well.
The only mark of the Brontë’s stay in Brussels is a small plaque created in 1979 on the Bozar cultural venue close to the grounds of the school where Charlotte and Emily studied and lived. Until now, the novelists have not been recognised on Brussels' street names or city walls.
"It's a wonderful decision especially, as it will be placed in the city's cultural center. The Brontë's are one of Brussels' most important literary links," says Helen MacEwan, author of the Brontës in Brussels and a founder of the Brussels Brontë Group.
The tribute was first proposed by former Brussels secretary of state and member of the Koekelberg council Robert Delathouwer. "He has long been aware of the Brontë's link with Brussels, and wants to pay tribute to them in the city that Charlotte depicts in her novels The Professor and Villette. He thinks it's a great idea to inspire young people," MacEwan tells TIME. [...]
The tribute — expected to be made official in early 2021 — is part of plan to dedicate more public place names to women, after the local authority found that the vast majority of its streets and squares named after men. In Koekelberg, almost half of the 70 names of public places are tributes to men (politicians, artists, veterans or those who died for their country). The remaining place names refer to the independence of the country or the end of the World Wars.Ans Persoons, Alderwoman of Urban Planning and Public Spaces of the City of Brussels, said in March 2019: “We are looking the names of women from Brussels. We want to grant them a more visible space in the neighborhoods in which they have a history.” (Madeline Roache)
Also on Republic World.

Yorkshire Life discusses 'Why the Yorkshire coast is an inspiration for artists and writers'.
But if wind-blown walks are more your thing, here’s Victorian writer Charlotte Brontë on Filey:
‘The sea is very grand. Yesterday was a somewhat unusually high tide – and I stood about an hour on the cliffs yesterday afternoon – watching the tumbling in of great tawny turbid waves – that make the whole shore white with foam and filled the air with a sound hollower and deeper than thunder... When the tide is out – the sands are wide – long and smooth and very pleasant to walk on. When the high tides are in – not a vestige of sand remains.’
Charlotte’s literary sister, Anne, was equally fond of the sands seven miles up the coast at Scarborough:
‘Refreshed, delighted, invigorated, I walked along forgetting all my cares, feeling as if I had wings on my feet, and could go at least 40 miles without fatigue, and experiencing a sense of invigoration to which I had been an entire stranger since the days of early youth... the sea was my delight.’
Her love of the Queen of Watering Places is shared by long-term resident and internationally-known playwright Alan Ayckbourn, author of 84 plays including The Norman Conquests. Born in Hampstead, he long ago gave up the bright lights of London for a more elemental existence on the North Yorkshire coast: [...]
‘[It’s] October or November when the shutters come down on the front. That, for me, is when the best time of year begins. I love the Yorkshire coast when the waves are high and the sea comes crashing in and the voices of the Brontës fly on the wind.’ (Janet Deacon)
Bookish questions to writer Oyinkan Braithwaite in the Daily Mail.
[What book] . . . would you take to a desert island? Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I have read Jane Eyre a number of times and I have three editions of the book. I was about ten the first time I read it and it’s still my favourite novel. I do not tire of it, so I believe it would be the perfect desert island read.
Entertainment Weekly also has a bookish interview with writer Julie Orringer.
Which book made you a forever reader?[...]
The book that unlocked the world of adult literary fiction for me was probably Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, which I read when I was maybe 12. I'll never forget Fritz Eichenberg's haunting woodcut illustrations in my 1943 Random House edition: the child Jane in a plain black dress and pinafore, scrutinized by towering adults; Mrs. Rochester looming over Jane in the night; Mr. Rochester clasping Jane against him under dark wind-wrung trees. (Seija Rankin)
Página 12 (Argentina) features the work of Anne Carson.
En El ensayo de cristal (1995) confronta a una mujer recién separada, admiradora de Emily Brontë, con la vejez y la enfermedad de los padres y la experiencia de su ruptura sentimental. Carson enhebra recuerdos, voces y sentimientos con una ambigüedad impávida: “y el consenso general es que en sus 31 años Emily no tocó un solo hombre./ Dejando el sexismo banal de lado,/me tienta// leer Cumbres borrascosas como un acto de venganza acumulada/ por toda esa vida que a Emily se le negó./Pero la poesía muestra rastros de una explicación más profunda.// Como si para algunas mujeres la rabia pudiera ser una especie de vocación./ Un pensamiento escalofriante”, se lee en la versión inédita de la poeta Sandra Toro. (Daniel Gigena) (Translation)
SBS looks back on the celebrities that have appeared on the quiz show Jeopardy.
The pre-famous Jeopardy celebrity
The former prisoner of war, US Senator, and US Presidential nominee John McCain made an early appearance on the first incarnation of Jeopardy in 1965, back when it aired as a daytime game show (1964-1975). McCain won the first episode, but was knocked out in the Final Jeopardy round on the second day - he couldn’t remember Heathcliff’s name from the book 'Wuthering Heights'. (Dan Barrett)


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